New Officer Vows To Enhance Baguio Tourist Experience

Banking on the city’s tag as one of the world’s creative cities, Baguio City’s newly-installed city tourism officer has vowed to enhance the tourism experience in the country’s Summer Capital.

Engineer Aloysius “Alec” Mapalo has been designated as Baguio City’s tourism officer, a post left vacant for three years, effective August 28.

Mapalo told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday he would craft programs that would give visiting tourists “a good and memorable experience” that would make them come back and say good things about the city.

He also promised to do something about the city’s road traffic situation.

“Like for example, if the tourists were caught in heavy traffic, and they were not able to see the beauty of Baguio, the tendency is they will complain about it, which can tarnish the image of our city,” he explained.

Mapalo was dean of the College of Engineering and Architecture of the University of the Cordilleras before becoming vice president of the institution’s corporate communications, and dean of student affairs.

He was involved in a number of the city’s major affairs, organizing activities and events.

One of these was in preparation for the city’s nomination to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) list of creative cities in 2017.

The tourism officer said he would look into how infrastructure in Baguio could be improved to enhance tourist experience in the mountain resort city. He said he would seek audience with the concerned offices on this.

“Of course, the City Planning and Development Office would help us in planning for the improvement of infrastructure. We need to emphasize the essence of our city’s identity,” Mapalo said.

Last November, UNESCO added Baguio as one of 64 cities from 44 countries tagged as “Creative Cities”, in a bid to make creative innovations become key drivers of sustainable and inclusive urban development.

With 2 weeks to go before the onset of the 2018 Batang Pinoy sporting event in this city and Benguet province, Mapalo said he would also see how else the preparations for the event could still be improved.

“The plans are already laid down but we will look into it and see if there are things we can still do to improve,” he said, expressing hope that the more than 7,000 delegates from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will have a “wonderful experience” during their stay in the highland city.

The Batang Pinoy is slated on Sept. 15-21, with both Baguio City and Benguet as hosts.

Comparing Baguio with Boracay, Mapalo said Baguio is not an island that could just be shut down because it is not only a tourist destination, but also a center of education in the Cordillera region, since it hosts the region’s major universities.

Baguio is also the center of Cordillera, as it houses all regional offices of the government.

“I’m excited about this job. It’s not about the money but more on personal growth and what I can contribute to sustain our brand,” Mapalo said. (PNA)

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